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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka University shuts down its Covid-19 lab

VC says it was decided from the very beginning that sample testings would end on May 31

Update : 01 Jun 2020, 09:42 PM

The Dhaka University (DU) authorities have shut down its Covid-19 lab, where it had been testing samples forwarded by government agencies.

Vice-Chancellor (VC) Md Akhtaruzzaman said they notified the health ministry on May 27 that the lab at its Centre for Advanced Research in Sciences (CARS) would not be conducting anymore tests after May 31.

After the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh, the university’s Coronavirus Response Coordination Committee (CARS), on March 29, proposed to the ministry that the university would test samples at its lab.

They also said DU researchers were able to develop low cost RT-PCR machines for sample testing.

Weeks later, the government cleared the university on May 5 and so far, the CARS lab has tested some 2,378 tests since May 7.It also did genome sequencing of five samples. 

The chief of DU’s virus response committee, Sharif Akhtaruzzaman, says that a shortage of funds and a lack of cooperation from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) are behind closing the university’s lab operations.

VC Akhtaruzzaman, however, dismissed this saying that it had already been decided that the lab would not conduct tests after May 31.

“This is a university, not a hospital. The equipment in the CARS lab was brought in from other labs of the university, which will be sent back as other research work needs to continue,” he told the Dhaka Tribune. 

According to him, the equipment now needs to be sterilized and sent back, which means no more testing of samples. 

The DGHS said it was the university’s call.

“The university proposed on its own and there was no matter of supporting it with government funds. We just provided PPEs, test kits, and samples. It’s entirely up to the university to continue tests or not,” DGHS Additional Director General, Nasima Sultana, told the Dhaka Tribune. 

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